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 Emil Francis “Shorty” Beaver

Emil Francis “Shorty” Beaver

Death 22 Mar 1952
Burial Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana, USA
Memorial ID 32003607 · View Source
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Emil Francis Beaver was born in Oaklandon, Marion County, Indiana on September 22, 1885. He was the only surviving son of Moses and Elizabeth (Maxwell) Beaver. His two older brothers died in infancy almost 20 years before he was born. At not quite one year old, Emil fell down a flight of stairs and broke his back. Due to weather conditions, his father was unable to travel by horse to Indianapolis to fetch the doctor. Thus Emil laid until spring. Because of this delay, his back had set itself and the doctor would do nothing. This left Emil unable to stand erect. However, with much effort on his part he learned to walk upright. According to his son, John, when Emil was about ten years old, a country doctor set about trying to remedy the damage already done. His wife Agnes remarked that years later when Emil was working as a laborer, he would be in tremendous discomfort because of the strain on his bent spine. He was Emil to his wife but was called Shorty by all of his friends.
As a young man, Emil delivered milk. He also drove a test car for Elwood Haynes. He was credited as being the first test driver of a manufactured automobile in the United States by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. His son, Daniel, read his father's name on an Elwood Haynes automobile display there in 1996. Emil attended Purdue University and earned an Associates Degree in Electrical Engineering. After completing his degree, he opened the Beaver Battery Service. At that time batteries did not come with your new car; you needed to go to a service. The 1930 census enumerated Emil and his family at 602 East Sycamore Street. He declared assets of $4,500 and that he owned a radio. His occupation was listed as proprietor of a battery shop. He closed his battery service around 1935. He later started teaching adult classes in machine shop at the Kokomo High School. Emil worked for Crosley Radio Manufacturing in Kokomo, for Farmsworth in Marion, and for General Electric in Indiana. He retired from GE in 1950.
Upon the death of his uncle Will Beaver in 1916, Emil inherited his father's share of the estate near Noblesville in Hamilton County. The remaining heirs forced the sale of the farm after a legal battle among the heirs which was finally resolved ten years later at the Indiana Supreme Court level. Emil's oldest son (John) remembers that Emil's lawyer actually shifted sides (which would have caused a disbarment today). Doc Gifford from Indianapolis purchased it at the height of the depression at a reduced value. According to court records (1927), Emil and his cousin Archie Beaver, were the sole nephews alive at that time. 85 great-nephews and great-nieces of William Beaver inherited $50,000. Both Emil and his first cousin received $5,754. The other eighty-five heirs received various amounts ranging down as low as $19.37.
Emil was an electrician in the 1920 census. Daughter Elizabeth remembers that when electricity was first put on East Sycamore Street and street lights installed, her dad was given the responsibility of turning on the street light in front of their home. The switch was actually on their front porch!
Son John recalled that his dad ran against Uncle Larry Ryan for County Treasurer at one point; losing to him.
The couple raised six children; sons John, Lawrence, Daniel, William and Edwin, and daughter Elizabeth.
Emil died of heart failure due to asthma and is buried in Crown Point Cemetery in Kokomo next to his wife Agnes. He was 66 years old at the time of his death.

Newspaper item on Emil from 1911 or 1912:
Emil F. Beaver
Midget Automobile Driver
Emil Beaver, Kokomo, Indiana, aged 27 years, candidate for treasurer on the Progressive ticket of Howard county, was born in a log cabin. That seems strange, but it is a fact.

Mr. Beaver was born in Oklandon, Marion county, September 22, 1885, and when four years of age was brought to Howard county upon the marriage of his mother to the late James Miller. Mr. Beaver has resided in the county ever since. He graduated from the Vermont common schools in 1890, from the Kokomo high school in 1905, and studied two years at Purdue university, electrical and mechanical engineering department.

Mr. Beaver is known as the "midget automobile driver," being but 4 feet and seven inches high. He drove one machine 45,000 miles and in the same car made a record of 209 miles in eight hours.

Family Members

  • Created by: Margie von Marenholtz
  • Added: 
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32003607
  • Margie von Marenholtz
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Emil Francis “Shorty” Beaver (22 Sep 1885–22 Mar 1952), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32003607, citing Crown Point Cemetery, Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Margie von Marenholtz (contributor 47028174) .